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Human rights expert outlines China's ongoing achievements
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As the world marked International Human Rights Day on Monday, a Chinese expert in the field has documented his country's work in the area through a new article chronicling achievements that have been made over the past five years.

Dong Yunhu, vice president of the China Society for Human Rights Studies, the largest nongovernmental organization in the human rights field in China, listed in his article some major facts outlining the fruits that have been reaped.

In the newly-amended constitution of the Communist Party of China (CPC) adopted at October's 17th Party Congress, one of the landmark changes was that in the paragraph of "promoting socialist democracy", it said the Party "respects and safeguards human rights".

It was the first time the CPC considered the development of human rights as an important aspect of national development.

In November 1991, the Information Office under the State Council published its first-ever white paper entitled "Human Rights in China", stressing that full access of human rights was socialist China's "sublime goal".

In March 2004, parliament adopted an amendment to the constitution that inserted the clause declaring "the state respects and safeguards human rights", putting human rights protection under the legal umbrella of the state.

In March 2006, China for the first time wrote "human rights protection" in the country's national economic and social development plan as a part of the modernization drive.

In his article Dong wrote: "Over the past five years, the most prominent progress in China's human rights protection is the 'mainstreamlization' and entry of human rights into the country's political life."

The public's right to know and right to supervise have been constantly expanded. How state organs operate and how legislators work become increasingly transparent, Dong said.

He pointed out that as a developing country with 1.3 billion population, China was still confined by historic, economic and social conditions. It had met many obstacles in the development of human rights.

"The economic, social and legal systems in China are far from mature and unbalanced development occurs between the rural and urban areas and among different regions," Dong said. He noted that "thorny issues in such aspects as employment, social security, income distribution, education, medicine, housing and safe production, had all effected public interests.

However, he was confident that "human rights conditions in China would gradually improve along with the modernization process" as long as the country "unswervingly implements human rights protection principles and actively promotes democratic and legal construction".

(Xinhua News Agency, December 11, 2007)

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